Make every click count!

Straight North is an Internet marketing agency specializing in SEO, PPC and responsive websites. We help firms increase sales leads and e-commerce revenue.

Our core service is SEO. We have helped hundreds of clients improve organic search visibility since 1997. We are the only SEO company that validates and reports all sales leads from phone and forms.

Call us today: 855-264-8969

 
$1,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
50 - 249
 Founded
1997
Show all +
Chicago, IL
headquarters
  • 211 W Upper Wacker Dr, Suite 1800
    Chicago, IL 60606
    United States
other locations
  • 615 S College St.
    Charlotte, NC 28202
    United States

Reviews

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SEO, Content Marketing, & PPC for National Legal Services Company

“They’re quick to get back to my inquiries, and the turnaround time on projects is pretty good.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Oct. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North provides various digital marketing services, including SEO, PPC, and content strategy. They’ve also implemented analytics tools to track efforts and drive lead quality.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Las Vegas, Nevada
SEO Manager, Legal Services Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Since Straight North’s initial involvement, site traffic has continued to grow as lead quality improves. The team focuses on data-driven strategies, recording all campaigns to gain crucial insights. Customers can expect responsiveness, transparency, and open communication throughout.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I work for a nationwide legal services company. In my role, I work with our outsourced SEO agencies to make sure that they’re getting our leads up and promoting our Google rankings.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

When I joined my position, we didn’t have any digital marketing strategies in place to boost our Google visibility let alone any analytics. We were also buying firms across the US, so we needed a way to promote all of our locations. Straight North came onboard to establish our SEO/PPC efforts, track our marketing data, and improve our lead generation.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

During our preliminary meetings, we discussed our needs to give them a better sense of the situation. Straight North then outlined an SEO plan, showing us the trending keywords and how they related to our field. We refined that list to make sure that those keywords reflected our services and added new terms to target.

They also created a strategy to get our directory listings published, support our PPC campaigns, and improve our web content. Because content is king with Google rankings, it was imperative that we had strong pieces to bulk up our site. Their team wrote several articles, ensuring that the pieces were appropriate and included the right keywords.

To track our marketing efforts and cultivate qualified leads, they set up our Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts along with their own reporting tools. One tool allows them to record the first 30 seconds of a call to determine whether or not it was from a potential lead.

Currently, they continue to drive our digital marketing efforts, delivering a separate monthly report for our SEO and PPC campaigns. This allows us to compare our month-to-month results and better adjust our strategies. Additionally, as our organization buys up more firms, they’re proactive in getting the new firms situated on the main site, Google Maps, and searches.

What is the team composition?

We’ve worked with two account managers so far, including our current point of contact.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

A colleague recommended Straight North to me. After looking at multiple agencies, I decided to go with them.

How much have you invested with them?

We spend about $2,500 a month with another $1,000 dedicated to ad fees.

What is the status of this engagement?

Their work started in October 2016 and is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Everything is on an upward trend. In the last two years, we’ve seen a big increase in organic traffic. Stronger content and targeted keywords have spiked our Google visibility, and our lead quality has also improved. A few months ago, we reached a new high of 81 leads.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

They’re quick to get back to my inquiries, and the turnaround time on projects is pretty good. If we need to add something to the website, they complete the task within a fair timeline. As for communication, we email a few times a week and hold monthly calls.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their account manager is exceptionally responsive and communicates well. She updates us on production status and passes on messages on our behalf. If she doesn’t know something, she checks with the relevant resource and gets back to us. It’s an open and transparent process.

Are there any areas they could improve?

There were some website changes that could've been completed faster, but that might be unfair to say since I don’t know how complex it is on the development side.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

If you’re building a web page or implementing a change to the site, make sure that Straight North understands exactly what you want. That way, you won’t have to redo work due to an initial misunderstanding. Maintaining open lines of communication is also important to keep everyone on the same page.

5.0
Overall Score We’ve had smooth sailing since we started working with them.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    I don't have many complaints.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Compared to their competitors, their prices are fair.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Whenever we need something done, they usually do it on time and as asked.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I've dealt with all kinds of companies, and these guys are definitely great at communication.

Digital Marketing Optimization for Marketing Software Company

“The work that they did for us was integral to our success.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Mar. - Sept. 2018
Project summary: 

Straight North optimized product-driven PPC campaigns by modifying the key messaging and updating the Google AdWords account.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Digital Marketing Director, Marketing Software Company
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Their innovative marketing techniques have generated a large number of qualified leads and reduced the $1200 cost-per-conversion rate to $365. Straight North adjusted well to the project’s ever-evolving direction, proving that their team can strive in any environment.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We’re a sales enablement technology company that creates software for an efficient sales environment. As the digital marketing director, I manage the website and oversee all of the online ad campaigns.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

When I came onboard, our company didn’t have a real marketing team, so we had trouble shifting our focus to PPC marketing. We already had a Google AdWords account but had only used it for one-time campaigns. Although I tried my best to optimize the keywords, we simply didn’t have the frame of reference to know if our strategies were producing results. As such, we needed an agency that specialized in PPC to guide us in the right direction.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Our VP of marketing believed that most of our leads were generated from trial downloads, so we decided to focus on demo-driven campaigns. Straight North reviewed the ad campaigns that we had already created and modifying our approach. It was a repetitive process of testing different strategies and learning which messaging, keywords, and landing pages generated qualified leads. We used Pardot in conjunction with Google Adwords to measure how many downloads converted into customers.

What is the team composition?

We interacted with their account executive during the contract process. For the project, we worked with the account manager and a PPC specialist.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

The first agency that we reached out to declined our offer because they had signed on with one of our competitors. We then started asking around for reputable PPC companies, and several people in our network gave Straight North a glowing recommendation. 

How much have you invested with them?

In the beginning, our monthly spend was between $16,000–$17,000. Near the end, the monthly cost increased to about $20,000 each month. Overall, their services only accounted for 15% of our media expense. 

What is the status of this engagement?

The project lasted from March–August 2018. Although their services have helped us tremendously, we’ve decided to shift our focus to content-driven campaigns and produce the work in-house.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Before we hired them, our cost per conversion was at an astronomical rate of $1200. After they came in and modified our key messaging and digital ad strategies, our average cost per conversion dropped to $365. 

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

Straight North is one of the most transparent and responsive companies that I’ve had the pleasure to work with. We didn’t know what to expect when it came to setting deadlines, so we relied on them heavily for scheduling. They stayed true to the suggested timeline and kept us updated along the way with biweekly phone conferences. Their project manager was very responsive to our needs and always had an answer for our inquiries. It was also nice to have their PPC specialist present during the meetings; he gave feedback on all of our business ideas, even for matters outside of the scope.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their work was integral to our success, so I hold their optimizations in high regard. Straight North used their knowledge to transform how our team thought about PPC campaigns. They cleaned up our AdWords account and helped us focus on what was most important for our business.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They spent a significant amount of time conducting tests on material that they had already observed during the onboarding process. They should keep a record of their results so that they can refer to them and avoid redundant evaluations.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Have an honest conversation with your team. Map out what you hope to accomplish and how much you’re willing to spend. When we reached out to Straight North, we didn’t have a solid plan. One of the biggest disservices we did to Straight North was changing directions halfway through the project. Had we gone into the project knowing that we should spend our efforts on content-driven campaigns, we would have seen great results instantly.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

SEO, PPC, and Web Dev for Auto Transport Brokerage

"They've done a great job at getting our name out there and having our site show up before our competitors."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Oct. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North provides 360-degree SEO and PPC services, handling AdWords and inbound lead validation. Currently, they’re also redesigning a website to boost overall functionality and design.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Glenview, Illinois
Ken Shapiro
General Manager, Stateway Auto Transport
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Search rankings and inbound leads have improved dramatically since Straight North was first engaged, while conversion costs have dropped. Their consistent communication, responsiveness, and understanding of digital technologies justify the investment and make them a valuable partner.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm a general manager at Stateway Auto Transport. We ship cars across the U.S.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We initially wanted help with our SEO. We needed our company to show up in online searches and rank higher than our competitors.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

In terms of SEO, they've created some new campaigns for us and added more keywords. They also investigate and validate our inbound leads. In addition, we've asked Straight North to take over our PPC efforts. We’d been using a separate provider and decided it made more sense to have everything centralized. They've integrated us into a platform called Kenshoo, which automatically identifies the cheapest keywords at select times.

As the engagement progressed, we decided our old WordPress site needed updating. Straight North is doing the development work to completely revamp the site, which will launch next month (October 2018).

What is the team composition?

Hillary (account manager, Straight North) handles the SEO and PPC, and Ann (senior project manager, Straight North) is the lead on the website development.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

We’d been looking around, and a couple of local companies referred us to them.

How much have you invested with them?

We're currently spending around $6,000 dollars a month, which will go down substantially after we launch the new website. We pay them 11% of our ad spend.

What is the status of this engagement?

Our work together started in October 2017, and the engagement is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

They've increased our domain superiority, and we're getting a lot more inbound leads. We're generating more leads per month than we ever have in the history of the business. Plus, our cost per conversion has gone down significantly. They've done a great job at getting our name out there and having our site show up before our competitors.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

Their team is very good. Hillary and I have biweekly meetings to go through everything they're doing for SEO and any changes that they've made. Ann serves as my liaison for the website developers and writers. We have a set schedule to review anything they send us, as well as deadlines every few days to get them our feedback or approval. She’ll pass that along to the developers and make sure that the job gets done. If there's something wrong or I flag some issue, they’re on top of it and get it fixed right away.

Straight North has an excellent platform for reporting a full breakdown of project metrics. It shows organic and PPC leads. It covers what they're doing for SEO, too (e.g., backlinks, blog posts). Everything is completely accessible to me in real time. They also use Google Analytics, and we get monthly reports from AdWords.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their performance, especially when it comes to SEO, is excellent. One of the most helpful things that they do is lead validation. They have somebody listening in on all incoming phone calls to make sure that they're valid leads. That way, we don't spend time on leads that are shopping around or aren't serious about paying for our services.

Are there any areas they could improve?

It's hard to say what they could improve upon. I would like more information on the website development, even though it's much more technical than I'm probably able to understand. I suppose I could reach out and ask Ann those things. I haven't yet because they've always delivered everything they said they would within deadlines. Everything else is great, so I have zero complaints.

Any advice for potential customers?

Be totally honest about what you need. Don't be shy in asking for help. They have a very skilled team with lots of manpower. For example, I didn't even know that they had a PPC team at first. Once I found out, it seemed obvious that we would reap the benefits of using them for both SEO and PPC. Make sure to ask about all their services you may need.

4.5
Overall Score They're very accommodating and solve problems quickly.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They're always on time.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We’ve definitely seen a positive ROI.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They've handled everything and completed what we've asked them to do.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

SEO Campaigns for Midwestern Manufacturer

“Overall, the entire experience has been positive.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
n/a
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
May 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North created and implemented SEO campaigns to increase visibility in a niche market. Using Google Analytics, the efforts focus on improving search rankings in Google to attract new business.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Oak Lawn, Illinois
Marcin Chojnowski
Technical Sales Engineer, Meyer Tool & Mfg. Inc.
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

So far, Straight North’s outreach strategies have generated new customers, increased traffic rates, and improved search rankings. With a balanced, collaborative, and transparent approach to the partnership, the team is able to develop valuable strategies that drive business.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the Technical Sales Engineer at Meyer Tool & Mfg. Inc., a specialized custom fabrication shop. We apply our expertise in engineering, welding, machining, and testing related to pressure vessels, vacuum chambers, and cryogenic systems to a diverse array of custom products and services to industrial and research based customers around the world. We have built up our fabrication core competencies and business processes around custom particle accelerator and high energy physics related products and we apply those skills on projects in need of some degree of engineering or fabrication related problem solving.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We wanted to grow our business by finding new sales leads and potential customers. We needed a partner to help increase our visibility within our industry.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Belonging to a very niche market, we gave Straight North a set of goals to increase our visibility within our industry. The team implemented a campaign that focused on generating new customer traffic and improving our rankings in Google searches. For a brief period, they also provided PPC services. The Straight North team tracks our progress using Google Analytics and forms reports based on that data. At our request, they promptly make any changes to the campaign.

What is the team composition?

We worked with an account manager who was supported by a behind-the-scenes team.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

The company was looking for a group of professionals to work on SEO campaigns. I wasn’t with the company when they made the decision to partner with Straight North.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in May 2017 and the partnership is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

In the year that we’ve worked with Straight North, we’ve received more new customer orders than any of our previous years. Our website traffic has increased, our rankings have improved, and we have a stronger digital presence, which has definitely brought in a significant number of new clients.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

We have a monthly teleconference to discuss the project and any updates or issues. Straight North is very friendly, yet they maintain a sense of professionalism in their work. Our partnership is very collaborative. We continuously send suggestions back and forth until we agree.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Overall, the entire experience has been positive. All of their work brings value to our business. I appreciate the way they handle the project and their high level of communication.

Are there any areas they could improve?

There are no areas for Straight North to improve because they are already so open to change. We consistently have discussions if we find that any element of the partnership needs to be tweaked.

Any advice for potential customers?

The technical terms involved in a project like this are pretty easy to pick up with a little bit of research. I recommend clients try to learn some of this language to get a better grasp of the type of services that Straight North is providing. This will result in a more efficient collaboration.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • N/A Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Digital Branding and Marketing for Orthodontics Company

“We ask a lot of questions, but they always willingly and patiently provide answers.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
2.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Jan. 2018 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North implemented digital marketing strategies focused on improving search rankings and driving new business. Having redesigned the website, the team continues to manage the growing digital presence.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Highland Park, Illinois
Ben Belavsky
Orthodontist, Jacqueline G Rosen's Nothin' But Smiles Orthodontics
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North’s SEO strategies led to higher search rankings and instilled a sense of internal confidence and pride in employees. The team’s involved approach to the project, their responsiveness, and their level of experience are key to generating positive results.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

I’m a partner at Jacqueline G Rosen’s Nothin’ But Smiles Orthodontics.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Straight North?

Following an unsuccessful run with a different web agency that claimed to specialize in marketing for orthodontists, we were looking for a new partner to help us develop our brand, web presence, and improve our SEO strategies.

What were your goals for this project?

We wanted to improve Google rankings, attract more potential clients, and strengthen our digital presence. Also, as our practice grew, we wanted to be able to transition our brand to reflect our evolving company.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We thoroughly researched other companies in the industry and contacted some of their past clients. We received the most compelling recommendations for Straight North.

Describe the project in detail.

We started the engagement with a phone conference to see if their capabilities matched our needs. They led an in-person meeting where they described areas in which our company could benefit from their help. They discussed strategies for a website redesign, branding, digital marketing, and search ranking optimization. After securing our approval, they implemented these various outreach campaigns that aimed to improve visibility.

What was the team composition?

We work with a project manager, who is supported by a team of resources.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any statistics or metrics that speak to the quality of their work and impact of the engagement?

As a result of Straight North’s efforts, we’ve experienced steady improvements in our website’s rankings. Internally, we feel more confident in the site’s new design and layout, which really highlights our new brand identity.

How did the Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

We track the project and discuss updates during scheduled monthly meetings. In between, we send emails as needed to touch base and continue to plan our next steps. The Straight North team is always available. Having no experience in this field, we rely on them heavily to explain the technical details of their work. We ask a lot of questions, but they always willingly and patiently provide answers. They provide step-by-step guidance to help us reach our goals.

What impresses you about the Straight North?

I really appreciate their responsive communication skills.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 2.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They're certainly not the most expensive, but also not dirt-floor cheap. Their cost is very reasonable.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Paid Advertising for Logistics & Supply Chain Company

“We’re generating four times what we spend on search and about two times on margin.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Jun. 2017 – Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North transformed a website into a lead generation engine. They manage paid search and the distribution of advertising and display marketing. They also work with Google AdWords and analytics.

The Reviewer
 
1,001-10,000 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Srinath Reddy
Digital Marketing Director, Coyote Logistics
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The collaboration with Straight North resulted in dramatic increases in the ROI for paid advertising. Over the past year, they tailored their services to respond to evolving business needs, delivering strong expertise. They’re easy to communicate with and expedite work with flexibility when needed.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Coyote Logistics is a UPS subsidiary. We’re a freight brokerage company or a third-party logistics broker as we’re also known in the industry. I’m the director of digital marketing, responsible for all digital lead generation initiatives: search, display advertising, and video.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

As a fairly young company, we needed to transform our website into an inbound lead generation engine. One of the tools we leveraged from Straight North was their search expertise. We started off with an initial goal geared toward generating avenues and brand awareness. We’ve now transitioned toward optimizing how we spend our money.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We initially started by researching opportunities that could generate leads. Over time, they defined the most relevant keywords and ad groups for us. They not only provide inbound leads through form submissions or personal quotes, but they also convert those into revenue-generating customers. We’ve used Straight North primarily for paid search but also for the distribution of marketing content like brand advertising and display.

We use Google AdWords and analytics to get insights into our website audience. Also, being a part of UPS, we have a dedicated advisory group that Google provides us. The account manager from Google works closely with our internal team and with Straight North, and Straight North has its own reporting portal as well, which we use for high-level communications with our executive management.

What is the team composition?

We have a main point of contact who coordinates their team to provide what we need.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

When we first started, we were looking for a local agency that could partner with us tactically. Straight North made the cut out of all the agencies we shortlisted.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent roughly $30,000 per month.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Straight North in June 2017 and the collaboration is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

One key metric we measure with these initiatives is the gross margin for the ROI across all paid channels. We’re generating four times what we spend on search and about two times on margin.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

We have monthly strategy calls and weekly optimization meetings with Straight North. We have a weekly cadence for everything that needs to be done. We can also address anything that comes up in-between, like strategy discussions, planning new campaigns, implementing new tracking code, or creating new landing pages.

Our initial contact person went on maternity leave, but she was replaced by someone who is equally good. She’s responsive to what we need and flexible in working with us, especially if we have to turn something around quickly for a business meeting. She does a good job of harnessing their internal resources to put together whatever is required.

One of the things I love about Straight North is that they’re not hierarchical and it’s easy to communicate with them. They don’t have the overhead of a large agency.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Straight North was responsive during our journey from where we started to where we are today, and they’re honest and open about their limitations. We’ve had a few international expansions, which is a bit of a deficiency for Straight North, as they haven’t worked with other languages, especially European ones. I appreciate the fact that they’re open and honest about it.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I would love to continue working with them for international regions as well. Straight North should develop competency in foreign languages like French, German, and U.K. English. That would exempt us from working with multiple agencies.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

It’s important to define expectations and communicate them with a regular cadence so that there won’t be unexpected surprises.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

SEO, PPC, & Content Marketing for Retained Search Firm

"They are quite ambitious—they aim to outperform themselves every month."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
May 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North organizes SEO campaigns to increase organic traffic and drive leads. Although they briefly provided PPC services, the current focus remains blog and content development and tracking analytics.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
St. Louis, Missouri
Julie Pinkston
COO, Grant Cooper
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North’s thorough market research and bright keyword interpretation made for successful organic traffic and paid advertising campaigns. Their inclusive project management approach ensured seamless communication. They are accountable and provide a number of services other firms cannot.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the COO of Grant Cooper, which is a retained search firm.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We recently rebranded our company and transferred our website to WordPress, and we wanted to optimize our new site. We contracted with Straight North to organize our SEO efforts and introduce us to paid advertising, as well.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We transferred all of our SEO practices from a different vendor over to Straight North and added PPC to our agreement. We relied on them to earn us higher ranks for different keywords. We have nine different areas of expertise, so Straight North researched which keywords tied to those areas.

Further, we were attracted to Straight North because of their ability to develop content, which our previous firm didn’t have the capacity for. Straight North created backlinks for our site, and they developed infographics and other content to better optimize our webpages. They also built out a section of our site for blog content, which they will contribute to for the next six months.

Another firm in our space utilizes paid advertising, and we realized we were being circumvented by their ads, which spurred our decision to explore that tactic, as well. Our paid campaign featured display ads and PPC ads.

What is the team composition?

Our account manager, Caitlin, has been our point of contact throughout the project. We love working with her.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

Our SEO firm prior to Straight North produced modest results, but we were uncomfortable with other aspects of their business. We wanted our partner to be more reliable and accountable. We conducted an online search and found Straight North. We were impressed with their website and reached out to them. They were one of four vendors we considered, and we felt they would be best for the job.

How much have you invested with them?

At one point, we were spending about $3,000 a month in management fees for the SEO and PCC campaigns. During that time, we paid between $3,000-$5,000 for the paid ads. We have since transferred our entire budget to the SEO campaign.

What is the status of this engagement?

Our engagement began in May 2017 and is ongoing. The paid ads returned promising results, but when we analyzed all of our leads, we realized that the most fruitful leads and the leads that were the most important to us were generated by organic search. We currently work with Straight North only for SEO and content development.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We have experienced record months for leads through our website because of Straight North’s involvement. We have already landed an organic client whose work has covered the amount spent with Straight North to date. Through seven months in 2018, we’ve seen 50 leads.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

They earn very high marks in that regard. Caitlin, our project manager, is very responsive. I never have to follow up with her to determine where we stand, which I have not found to always be the case in this industry. They are very accountable and keep tasks moving forward so that I don’t have to micromanage. We have monthly meetings to review our reports, and we’re in communication throughout the month as necessary.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Based on my experience with other firms, project management is their strength. They are quite ambitious—they aim to outperform themselves every month. And they are versatile in that they have the ability to produce marketing pieces, and they have writers on staff to fulfill a number of tasks we may need. Not a lot of firms can offer that.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No. They have been quick to problem-solve when something goes awry. For example, our Google Analytics metrics stopped tracking for a short time as a result of a Google problem. Straight North corrected it and took measures to implement a failsafe to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

Any advice for potential customers?

Each side should set expectations for the other side at the beginning of the engagement. Straight North is happy to have us be involved as much as we are, but not all firms are the same in that regard, nor do all companies in our position want to be hands-on. It’s important to set ground rules for both sides.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

SEO Campaign for Online Canvas Seller

"Our site traffic is four times higher than it was last year."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Jul. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North provides SEO services, including keyword research, backlinks, and creating website content.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Phoenix, Arizona
Owner, Canvas Vows
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The number of visitors and the search rankings have increased markedly since Straight North was first engaged. Their consistent communication, responsiveness, and ability to work within strict budget parameters justify the investment and make them a valuable partner.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the owner of Canvas Vows. We make personalized canvases, which are printed in-house and shipped ready to hang.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We needed to get our website ranked higher for relevant keywords. We want people to find our site when they’re searching for custom artwork and custom home decor.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We started by giving them a brief overview of the company and our target market. They did their own keyword research, and made a few new suggestions. They also confirmed some of the keywords we were already targeting were correct. Together we agreed on a list of the top 10–15 products to target. The list is based on the strength of the keywords and how much competition there is for each one. They also created backlinks and website content to support the SEO strategy.

What is the team composition?

Our account lead is my primary contact.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

I did a lot of research, and worked with a couple of other companies. Straight North kept showing up in my Google search so I decided to give them a call.

How much have you invested with them?

We started at $2,000 a month, which was all we could afford at the time. They were very willing to work with me on the budget. We recently increased our spend to $3,000 dollars a month.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in July 2017 and the engagement is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Our site traffic is four times higher than it was last year. SEMrush estimates we had only 93 views a day in August 2017. In August 2018, that number has grown to 386 views a day. A big reason we increased our budget with them was because of that uptick. They continue to push things forward in order to get the site ranked up near my competitors.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

My account lead is excellent. She responds really fast and gives me an update every month. They describe the way they use their time in action steps, and they share those action steps every month. That includes what they’ve worked on in the past month, and how many action steps (e.g. backlinks or web content) they completed.

Every once a while, she’ll email me with ideas they can implement to boost our site. She always answers my questions within the day. It makes me feel good about where my money is going.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They’re very knowledgeable about SEO, and I'm trying to learn as much as I can. It’s been helpful to have a partner that I can ask all of my questions. I've never been left dissatisfied by their answers. They help me understand why they're doing things a certain way.

Any advice for potential customers?

Do the work upfront before starting the keyword research. Making sure you understand your target market really well. That will give Straight North a better starting point to do their research, and bring their creativity to the table.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Their costs are pretty standard, if not a little less.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    I have no complaints.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would definitely recommend them.

SEO & PPC Campaigns for Startup Shipping Company

"They have coached me to better understand their work so that I can better explain it to our leadership."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Sept. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North coordinates SEO and PCC campaigns to increase organic traffic and sales. Straight North conducts research to determine successful markets and develops strategies to influence online visibility.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Marketing Manager, Shipping Startup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Straight North’s involvement increased online traffic and business opportunities, creating a successful engagement. Straight North features thorough researchers and talented strategists that combine their efforts to craft strong solutions. They are accessible partners that are eager to help.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the marketing manager for a shipping startup. We are a less-than-truckload online shipping exchange. We offer consumer and commercial shipping solutions.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We contracted with Straight North to assist with our online marketing efforts, including SEO and PPC campaigns.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We explained our business model and who we were targeting. They took it upon themselves to do the research behind which markets would perform the best and which pages we needed to be seen on. Once a strategy was in place, they orchestrated our organic search and paid advertising campaigns.

What is the team composition?

We worked with the director of sales operations and a pair of project managers.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

I found them through a Google search, and they were among the 10 SEO and PPC vendors I vetted to determine the best fit. They submitted the best pitch, making us comfortable enough to move forward with them.

How much have you invested with them?

Our total for their SEO services is around $5,000. Our total PPC costs have increased from $2,000 a month at the start of our engagement to about $10,000 a month now.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started utilizing their services in September 2017, and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We have certainly addressed certain matters on our end, but Straight North’s efforts have made us a more visible option in the marketplace. Prior to their involvement, in September 2017, we averaged about 68 users a month, and we had no shipments that month. In July 2018, we had 1,200 unique visitors, and in June 2018, we had 69 shipments. We’re still very new, but relative to what we experienced before, we’ve seen a significant increase in our traffic and our business.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

Whenever I am asked to provide answers to our CEO, I can get those answers usually within a few hours but always by the end of the day. I really appreciate their responsiveness.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I don’t have a background in SEO, so they explain to me their processes and their rationale. If I have questions regarding Google Analytics, they tell me how to find my answers and what my answers reflect. They have coached me to better understand their work so that I can better explain it to our leadership.

Are there any areas they could improve?

When we first started, our campaigns were more geared toward the consumer market, which is our secondary target audience behind the commercial. That was one thing we had to readjust so that we could better connect with smaller business shippers.

Any advice for potential customers?

From the initial meeting, it is important that both sides have a clear set of expectations.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Organic SEO Campaigns for E-Commerce Website

"We’re depending on them and their knowledge in this industry, and the insight they’ve given us has been very useful."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
n/a
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Oct. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Straight North crafts SEO strategies for different sales campaigns to increase organic traffic to an e-commerce site. They provide diagnostic assessments and offer suggestions to increase visibility.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Baltimore, Maryland
Operations Director, E-Commerce Site
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The number of unique visitors to the site has risen since the start of Straight North’s involvement, and organic sales have increased, as well. Straight North features an attentive and intelligent team driven toward determining the most successful digital strategies.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the operations director of an e-commerce website.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Straight North?

We run a different campaign on the site every three weeks, which necessitated the need for an SEO company. We wanted to increase the organic traffic to these campaigns.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They coordinated a full diagnostic assessment of our site and immediately provided suggestions, including having all pages receive https certification and changing images to improve site speed. Over time, they addressed our goal of increasing organic traffic.

What is the team composition?

We worked almost exclusively with our account manager.

How did you come to work with Straight North?

Our company worked with them in the past and was familiar with their work.

How much have you invested with them?

We spend about $2,000 per month for their services.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in October 2017, and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Within the first month, we saw a jump in sales. In each following month, we continued to grow, and we outperformed our sales from the same month the year before. They increased our traffic from maybe 2,000–4,000 unique visitors per month to almost 10,000 per month.

How did Straight North perform from a project management standpoint?

We reference the in-house tools they use to track their progress. They communicate well and keep us informed. From the beginning, we requested biweekly calls so that we could be involved in the process, and they have been fully accommodating.

What did you find most impressive about them?

We’re depending on them and their knowledge in this industry, and the insight they’ve given us has been very useful.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We’d always like to reach our goals faster, but we understand this is a project that requires patience.

Any advice for potential customers?

Our approach has been to be as open and communicative as we can be, and I think we’ve been successful that way.

5.0
Overall Score We are very happy to be working with them.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We have never been concerned about them missing a deadline.
  • N/A Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They are performing really well.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would absolutely recommend them.